Buying a home: how to save money without missing out

If you’re saving up to buy a home, finances can be tight. But there’s no need to lock yourself away – there are still lots of ways to have fun and enjoy a little luxury without breaking the bank.

Save money on going out

If you’re a culture vulture, then you’ll be delighted to know that a huge number of galleries and museums across the UK are free to enter - MoneySavingExpert.com has a comprehensive list. Take a packed lunch and you can have a cultured weekend on a budget.

But if you’re more of a foodie, there are also ways to get a restaurant meal for free. If you become a mystery shopper with a firm like Marketforce, you’ll get paid to eat out in restaurants. If you want to keep things more intimate, you could always organise a ‘come dine with me’ experience with a group of friends, taking it in turns to cook three-course meals for one another.

Look good for next to nothing

Haircuts can be expensive, but becoming a model for a trainee hairdresser can slash the cost to as little as £5. And if you want to refresh your wardrobe for free, there are various clothes swap events across the UK. Swishing.com encourages visitors to host ‘Swishing parties’ where each attendee brings – and receives in turn – at least one item of clothing for free.

But if you’re after something a bit special that your budget can’t stretch to, Hardlyeverwornit.com lists high-end, secondhand designer clothes for a fraction of their original price.

Make your car pay for itself

If money is scarce and you rarely use your car, it may be tempting to get rid of it altogether to save on tax and insurance. But you can also make your car pay for itself by signing up to a peer-to-peer car rental service. Firms such as EasyCar Club will list your car on their website, and if someone wants to rent it, they will organise the insurance and payment. But it’s not just your car you can rent out: Spinlister lets you hire out your bike, snowboard or surfboard when they would otherwise be sitting idle.

Even your garage could make you money as sites like YourParkingSpace and JustPark let you rent out parking spots on your property. And Storemates can turn your garage into a paid storage facility.

Go on holiday on the cheap

Holidays tend to be first for the chop when budgets are tight. But there are ways to travel for hardly anything at all. Flight-comparison sites like Skyscanner and Kayak can help you find the cheapest possible air travel, while house-swapping sites such as Love Home Swap let you trade homes with people across the globe, slashing accommodation costs to zero.

Finally, volunteering is a great way to see the world for very little money. VSO will pay for all travel, vaccinations, expenses and accommodation in return for your time and expertise as you help out communities in Africa and Asia.


YOUR NEXT STEPS

Inspired to save money? Keep on going:

  • Harness the sharing economy. Take advantage of peer-to-peer services to make your car, home and even parking space work for you. And trade clothes, books or expertise through sites like Swishing.com, BookMooch and TaskRabbit.
  • Look out for free things to do. VisitBritain lists some of the best things to do in the UK for absolutely nothing.
  • Stay within your means. As well as saving money, follow these budgeting tips to make sure you stick to within your means.

Further advice and support

The Money Advice Service offers tips for saving money on shopping in addition to advice on things like saving money and debt management.

Please note that Lloyds Bank do not endorse any of the links in this article – they have been included for information purposes only.